Before I start please direct yout attention to this commercial for The Wheelman.
I know that this is old but I've wanted to do this for months and can finally get around to it.Do you notice anything about this commercial? It doesn't feel quite right does it? It feels like this is some advertisement for a movie and not a video game. But what is it exactly that causes this commercial to seem so out of place? If you notice this commercial chooses to focus on aspects that you normally see in movie trailers. For example it decides to show video of explosions and other typical movie like flare. If you are advertising a video game wouldn't you want to see the main character atleast jumping out from the explosion instead of just showing the explosion by itself? But the most obvious thing in the trailer that stands out is Vin Diesal. It is clear the publisher wanted to draw players in with Vin but is this something we should be worried about?The video decides to start by panning to the game's main protagonist, Milo Burick. Milo is Vin Diesal in ever way because he was based off of him, this is something strange. You cannot look at Milo and not think of the actor behind him, this is nothing new especially considering the chronicles of Riddick games. But I feel that was a different situation, Riddick was already established as Vin Diesal while Milo was forced to be like him.
Another potential problem that arises is dissociation with the character. In most action type games is it is common to either feel as though you are the character or you are temporarily stepping into the shoes of the character. With someone like Vin Diesal it would be impossible to imagine yourself as him and for the stepping into the shoes part, it would not seem real enough. The escapism aspect of this game is lost with you thinking of Vin and not Milo or you during the course of the game.
It no secret that video games are as popular as movies even outselling them sometimes. I'm surprised this trend hasn't really take off yet but doesn't seem odd that not to many actors have yet attempted to capitalize on games more. Ignoring movie games because they tend to focus on the story or character instead of the actor. The Wheelman presents a perhaps look into the future to games. How often are we going to start seeing games that are built up around the actor instead of the other way around. Boom Blox was made by Steven Speilberg, despite this it seemed to fail to capture the game sales but still publishers are beginning to look at celebrity attachments more and more. Littlebigplanet had Stephen Fry doing the narrative. Beyonce and the rhythm heaven commercials too, she may not appear in the game but don't you think that the game may moved more copies is she had applied vocals to the game? It has yet to be proven that celebrity attachment increases interest any a game but consider for a moment if it did? It would no doubt be the new hotness in the game industry right after the quick time event tangent. "Need a little more spice to your game?Throw in a celebrity or two to give it that much needed broad appeal!"
People often complain about games becoming a bit too hollywood or mainstream but it will get much worse if celebrities start making appearances in the game just for the sake of it. I'm fine with celebrities in games but The Wheelman feels like it was made to be a controllable Vin Diesal action movie. The creator must have realized because half way through development they decided to just be direct with their intentions and just announce a Wheelman movie based off of the game. While it is too early to tell if this trend picks up it would be wise to be caution of new games that promise celebrities, or else you may have Ashton Kutcher in the next Final Fantasy and NO ONE want that to happen.